6 Multiplayer Video Games for Library Collections

From multiplayer matches to couch co-op adventures, sometimes two (or more) heads are better than one. Here are six multiplayer video games to add to your collection for building community in the library and at home.

OverCooked! All You Can Eat ©2021 Ghost Town Games


Multiplayer games come in many forms these days: Some pit opponents against one another in friendly competition, while others ask players to work together toward a common goal. And alternatively, some are single-player games that are ideal for sharing the controller—and the experience—with a friend. This roundup features titles perfect for building community in the library and at home.

It Takes Two. Mar. 2021. Hazelight Studios/EA. Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S. Price $39.99.
Rated T–Cody and May are parents on the verge of divorce. Their only child Rose, who is upset about her parents’ impending split, inadvertently curses the two bickering adults and they are shrunk to the size of dolls. Players assume the roles of the parents to try and break the spell. The characters bicker constantly and fall into divorce-plot stereotypes: She’s too serious! He’s too silly! But they still need to work together. The game must be played with two people, as the environment demands the players use co-op strategy to conquer its challenges. Some obstacles are simple, like one character standing on a button to let the other through a door. They become more complex, e.g., one character holding a hook and rope that the other must swing from. Adult players may be charmed by a game reminiscent of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids , and teen players will enjoy the cooperative gameplay that involves platforming, puzzle-solving, and shooting. VERDICT Fun and accessible to players of all skill levels, but the divorce plot, characters with a callous disregard for others, and brutal cartoon violence keep this a strictly T-rated adventure.

WarioWare: Move It!. Nov. 2023. Nintendo. Nintendo Switch. Price $49.99.
Rated E10+–The WarioWare series debuted in 2003, and this is its 10th installment. Move It! is most reminiscent of Smooth Moves, Wario’s Wii adventure. In Move It!, players must hold the two Joy-Con controllers in a variety of ways to accomplish their goals. Some games ask players to hold the controllers over their heads, or hold one controller on their nose and one on their rear so they look like a pecking chicken. As the title suggests, lots of movement is required. The game is set into motion when Wario wins a trip to a tropical resort. But the plot doesn’t matter in a WarioWare game—it merely serves as a frame for wacky gameplay. WarioWare: Move It!consists of “microgames” in which players are given short instruction before they have roughly five seconds to figure out how to play and how to win. For instance, when “Clean!” appears on the screen, players must use their controllers to spritz a cleaning solution with one hand and scrub a dirty window with the other. Zaniness inevitably ensues, especially when played with a group. A wealth of multiplayer options exists, and players can take turns, compete against one another, or work cooperatively to achieve a high score. However, the game moves so fast, it is sometimes difficult to tell why a player failed a challenge. VERDICT A great party game option for those who aren’t afraid to look silly in front of friends and family.

Unpacking. Nov. 2021. Witch Beam/Humble Bundle. MacOS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One. Price $19.99.
Rated EUnpacking follows an unseen protagonist across 20 years of their life. The player sets up their childhood bedroom, then accompanies the character as they go to college, move in with roommates and partners, go through breakups, and more. Environments are rendered with vintage, SNES-style graphics that show incredible attention to detail. The pixel art on the in-game book jacket is especially striking. Eagle-eyed librarians and book lovers can spot 16-bit interpretations of The Handmaid’s Tale and What to Expect When You’re Expecting, among other classics. Unpacking is not a traditional multiplayer game. Instead, it is perfect for old-school couch co-op where players pass the controller, take turns, and offer guidance to one another. This could be a great game for older players to share with younger ones. The game is playable in 16 different languages, icon size can be adjusted, and controller settings modifiable depending on handedness. VERDICT A nostalgic, reminiscent game worthy of adding to any collection.

Everybody 1-2-Switch! Jun. 2023. Nintendo. Nintendo Switch. Price $29.99.
Rated E–This sequel to 1-2-Switch, which was a Nintendo Switch launch title, really does mean it when they say everybody can play. This versatile party game can welcome up to 100 participants with Joy-Cons or smart devices. Players divide up to compete in wacky mini-games, such as moving their devices to pump up a large balloon, or perhaps greeting an incoming UFO. Controls are intuitive at times, but frustrating at others. Each game is introduced by a high definition video featuring real people. These intros slow the pace but make this title less intimidating for casual players. VERDICT While maybe not a high-circulating title, this game is still worth firing up for an in-library event or recommending to those looking for a less rude version of the popular Jackbox games.

Street Fighter 6. Jun. 2023. Capcom. PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox Series X/S. Price $49.99.
Rated T–Ryu, Chun Li, Blanka, and…Luke? Street Fighter 6 is the latest game in a series that has been in the mainstream since the 1990s. Iconic characters like Zangief and Guile return, but the game foregrounds newcomer Luke, even putting him on the cover. This decision goes hand-in-fist with the game’s new story mode. The player is invited to create a character and go on a personal journey toward being world champion. Character customization is deep, with players permitted to create an avatar from myriad body shapes, skin tones, and more. Players can try to create a realistic character or go for one with outlandish proportions. The gameplay is adjustable to adapt for series veterans or newcomers. For instance, experts can use the familiar complex button inputs to do special moves like spinning kicks or throwing fireballs, whereas newbies can execute these flashy maneuvers with two simple button presses. These modern controls are juxtaposed against a graphic style and vibe that feels like it’s still the 1990s. VERDICT A strong choice for libraries looking to expand their fighting game selections that will appeal to brawlers of all skill levels.

OverCooked! All You Can Eat. Nov. 2021. Ghost Town Games. Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S. Price $39.99.
Rated E–For players who want to experience the fast-paced environment of a busy restaurant without worrying about cuts and burns. The OverCooked! series puts players in the kitchen to prepare, cook, and serve meals for demanding customers. And they can’t do it alone: two to four players must work together to keep up with the restaurant’s demand. Levels become more absurd as players progress. Little chefs must cook and deliver meals while aboard an airship, in a magical castle, and commanding a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant. Players can customize their tiny chef with a variety of skin tones or even turn them into anthropomorphic animals. OverCooked! and its sequel are included in this compilation, and while the sequel is the real highlight, both are true tests of communication skills and cool heads under pressure. VERDICT A must-have multiplayer experience for any collection.

Chance Lee Joyner, Tyngsborough P.L., MA

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